Kannur teaches students how to battle fake news


  • Kannur has launched a new initiative that will train school students to identify and combat fake news.
  • The initiative was inaugurated on 13 June with a one-day training programme for 150 teachers.
  • If the first phase of the programme is successful, it will be extended to parent-teacher associations and other schools as well.
Kannur, a coastal district in Kerala, has launched a new initiative by the name of Satyameva Jayate that will train school students to identify and combat fake news. The initiative has been launched for students from class VIII to XII, across 150 government schools. The main aim is to inculcate the spirit of ‘Article 51 (A) (h)’ which is ‘to develop the scientific temper, humanism and the spirit of inquiry and reform’.

The district was recently hit by an anti-vaccination wave because of the circulation of fake WhatsApp messages which claimed that a particular vaccination was harmful. Other fake news about child kidnapping and transmission of Nipah virus through chicken have also caused widespread menace in the district.

The Collector of Kannur came up with this programme after he realised that it was the lack of scientific awareness amongst general public that made this happen.

The initiative was inaugurated on 13 June with a one-day training programme for 150 teachers. One teacher was identified from each government school to be a part of this. After the training the teachers were supposed to go back to their schools and pass on what they had learned to the students.

The teachers are expected to take a one-hour class with the students that lays down a protocol on how to deal with fake news in three relatively easy ways:

  • Check the source of the information
  • Ask the sender to furnish the source of the information
  • If he/she doesn’t know it, ask them to find out and post it with the source
The training mainly focuses on learning how to identify fake news and to look for a credible source of information. The teachers have strongly recommended Google for the same, which itself is planning to run drives that help journalists combat the fake news crisis.

Since the teachers use smartphones and internet for verifying information with credible sources, there is a fear that the training might end up as just another forgettable lecture for students who do not have access to these. Therefore, the teachers are performing exercises in class to ensure that students practice the protocol even outside classes.

The programme is in its first phase and this ends after three months, depending on how things work out, the message will be extended to parent-teacher associations across the 150 schools and then will be extended to other schools as well.
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